My son and I drove a broad, open landscape of ranches and winding highway as news headlines erupted: our capital breached by violent rioters. Sporadic cell phone and internet connection prevented us from accessing all but a skeleton of events unfolding on the other side of our nation. And then an all-too-near rumble interrupted our journey. Our front tire had blown. I steered the car to the right and bumped off the asphalt shoulder to a stop in windswept grass stretching as far as the eye could see.
Winter wind howled as we hopped out to inspect the damage, buffeted by even stronger gusts whipped up in the wake of semis whizzing by, just several yards away. Our analysis revealed bigger problems than we were capable of resolving, so we called for roadside assistance. But before it arrived, a car pulled off the highway just ahead and backed to us. A man and a woman asked if we needed help. The man assured us he possessed the necessary skills. He took up our tools and within a cheerful jiffy, removed the flat tire and mounted the spare. He refused to accept any money, so they pulled away with only our sincerest thanks.
At the surface level, we seemed opposite in many ways. Strangers of different ethnicities, ages, and careers; from different states; city-dwellers vs. small-town residents. But in our moment of need, our Good Samaritan never asked our political views. We were simply humans, one with skills to assist another.
When my son and I resumed our journey, we listened to a live stream of the Senate, resuming their certification of electoral votes after hours of violence and trauma in an America I didn’t recognize. But our experience on the windswept shoulder of a Texas highway reassured me that the America I know and love is still very much alive and well. May this America triumph.